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Art&Seek on Think TV: Katherine Wagner

by Stephen Becker 13 Aug 2010 1:17 PM

On this episode of Think TV, Business Council for the Arts CEO Katherine Wager discusses the state of arts philanthropy in North Texas.

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  • Arts Lover

    I always enjoy watching KERA for the various arts programs it offers to the community, and I particularly love to watch THINK as I feel that it puts a face to the many things that KERA supports.

    Although I found the interview with Katherine Wagner to be informative, I was terribly disappointed that the program turned from a discussion about the Dallas arts to a sales and marketing campaign for both American Airlines and Delloit Consultants, both of which are generous supporters of the Dallas Business Council for the Arts.

    While its true that corporate support is important in the non-profits, I was terribly saddened that this seemed to be the major focus of Ms. Wagner’s arts agenda, a business ideology which is totally contrary to the very beauty and essence of what the community arts are supposed to be about. Even the host of that show had to finally step in and ask if corporate self-interest was more at play here than the arts………

    So, while I love your program, I feel that it was very unprofessional and unbecoming of Ms. Wagner as a non-profit CEO to inject her personal bias towards these companies on the show via her devout sales pitch for them. Certainly the program was not about that but rather to educate and show support for the arts.

    I look forward to many more interesting shows on THINK (hopefully without all of the corporate influence and sales pitches)

    Thank You

  • The Business Committee for the Arts does a great service to report on the economic impact of the arts; something governments, in particular, should recognize, study and comprehend. As leaders like Ray Nasher knew, THE ARTS MEAN BUSINESS. As Katherine Wagner pointed out at the study’s formal presentation, this report did not measure ALL the economic impact of the Arts in North Texas: its billion dollar impact reported is significantly understated. The study only reported on cultural organizations that responded to a survey that asked arts organizations to re-cap three years of financial data. I suspect many vigorous small organizations and not a few mid-sized groups (many of them supported by Dallas’ Office of Cultural affairs which keeps detailed information on organizations’ finances) failed to respond to the survey. Still the study’s billion dollar figure is interesting and a huge public is well served. Last year, capital “A” arts organizations (classical music groups, art museums, operas, theatres and dance companies) served FIVE MILLION TEXANS in North Texas — and that number doesn’t include patrons attending performances at schools. So however you count it up, there’s a whale of a lot of activity, both artistic and economic.

  • Jac and “Arts Lover” – thank you for writing.

    In particular, I am responding to “Arts Lover” who comments that he/she is saddened that I focused on corporate support of the arts.

    Arts Lover, our organization is called Business Council for the Arts and that is what we do. I spoke highly of American Airlines and Deloitte, yes, that is true. Both of these companies are important to the life of the arts in our region. I was holding them up as examples, and if you will refer to our website and our Obelisk Awards event, you will note that placing the spotlight on the businesses (small to large) that support arts/cultural organizations in our region is an important part of what we do.

    You will find that American Airlines and Deloitte support numerous cultural organizations in our region and moreover, their employees are also very active in doing the same. That was my point. Don’t you wish that all businesses did the same?

    To paraphrase Jac Alder, quoting our founder Ray Nasher, THE ARTS MEAN BUSINESS, and corporations that are aware of that support the arts.